ATHENS, Ga. – Fourth-ranked Georgia held a two-hour workout Wednesday in preparation for its upcoming battle with top-ranked Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.
The Bulldogs (11-1) and Crimson Tide (12-0) will meet Saturday for the 69th time overall but just the second time in an SEC Championship Game in Atlanta. In 2012, then No. 2 Alabama edged No. 3 Georgia 32-28 as the game ended with the Bulldogs at the Alabama five-yard line. The teams last met to decide the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship in Atlanta, and that game went to overtime as the Crimson Tide won 26-23.
The Bulldogs are seeking to become back-to-back SEC Champions for the first time since a three-year stretch from 1980-82. Last year, the Bulldogs defeated No. 2 Auburn 28-7 for the SEC title. Georgia enters Saturday’s game averaging 40.1 points a game while Alabama checks in at 49.0 points a game, which ranks second nationally. The Bulldogs scoring defense ranks 10th nationally, allowing just 17.2 points a game while Alabama is third nationally, surrendering only 13.8 points a game.
Also, on Wednesday, it was announced that Georgia junior place-kicker Rodrigo Blankenship has been named to the 2018 Southeastern Conference Community Service Team for football. The SEC names a Community Service Team for each of its 21-league sponsored sports, looking to highlight an athlete from each school who gives back to his community through superior service efforts. Blankenship, a native of Marietta, Ga., was the only player from the conference named to this year’s Allstate AFCA Good Works Team for his dedication to the community and performances on the field and in the classroom.
After practice, junior tight ends Isaac Nauta and Charlie Woerner met with the media to discuss the week’s preparations.
#18 junior tight end Isaac Nauta
On having another crack at Alabama…
“Even bigger than the opponent, having another crack at an SEC Championship is no small feat. It’s such a good conference and it’s so tough to get to this point, it feels good to have another chance to defend the championship. It means a lot and to have Charlie be a part of it, playing against this opponent, I know he’s excited about that. … This is a big moment for him, for the team, the university as a whole, so we’re excited to go out there and play in this game.”
On familiarity with Alabama through being recruited…
“I know a ton of people over there, usually as I do at every program we play. It’s a part of recruiting; you get to know people. I’ve got friends that go there. … I have a lot of respect for them and what they’ve done. They’re a great team and I’m excited for the challenge. We’re going to go out there to do our thing.”
On the dynamic of being a two-touchdown underdog after a season of being the favorite…
“To be honest, I didn’t even know that. I don’t look at it like that at all. Every week they put up numbers and you see them either not come to fruition or be right on the dot. I haven’t looked at [the odds] at all, I didn’t even know that. I’m just trying to prepare the best to be able to come out and beat these guys. That’s how we’re approaching it.”
#89 junior tight end Charlie Woerner
On the hype going away during the game…
“[The hype] goes away at the first kickoff. That’s how we’ve practiced all week, was to be sound and execute during the game. We practice with crowd noise to get used to it. Really, right when the game starts, it’s like, ‘alright, let’s lock in, let’s go execute the plays we worked on all week.’”
On having a helpless feeling being sidelined during the 2018 National Championship game…
“Oh yea, I hated seeing everything happen out there and knowing I couldn’t help, especially watching us lose on the very last play. The helpless feeling was horrible. I was like, gosh I can’t do anything to help the team out except for cheer along the sideline. It’s not the same when you’re a competitor and want to be out there.”
On Jake Fromm’s progression into his sophomore season…
“I think he’s gotten a lot more mature. He came in very mature, but still is a lot more mature. He knows everything in the playbook, he handles himself better in situations. He’s just become a better quarterback overall to be honest.”
Kickoff at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Saturday is slated for 4:10 p.m. and be televised by CBS Sports and available on the Georgia Bulldog Sports Network. Additionally, Westwood One Sports and the SEC Radio Network will be broadcasting the game.